Best Speakers for Record Players, Wireless and Powered


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Best Speakers for Record Players, Wireless and Powered

Here are some great active speaker options for putting together a turntable-based stereo system.

Today's record players no longer need to be connected to a tower of electronics housed in a glass cabinet, filled with knobs and levers and buttons of questionable value. Now, thanks to all-in-one active speaker systems, the only thing coming between your collection of vinyl records and your ears is a simple system consisting of a record player and self-powered stereo speakers.

Powered stereo speaker systems offer an easy path to getting great sound for your vinyl. All you need in order to relax are a pair of active stereo speakers, a good turntable, and a comfortable chair. And when you just want to browse music to decide what album to pick up next in the LP format, these speakers also accommodate streaming. Unless you are invested in an old-school style big stereo system, it's entirely possible that your musical needs will be fully satisfied by a pair of active bookshelf speakers such as the ones featured here.

Vinyl records have been used by music fans for over seven decades to unwind and listen to their favorite artists. An almost unfathomable variety of music is available on vinyl, and that includes new releases. whether vinyl records sound better than digital is certainly the subject of much debate that could ultimately be chalked down to subjective opinion, but it is reasonable and accurate to say that an album mastered for vinyl is mastered differently than an album mastered for CD, or for streaming.

What to Consider When Buying Speakers for Turntables

Certainly, one of the first considerations in buying a powered stereo speaker is budget. Many of these speaker options are more budget-friendly, so to speak, as compared to a system with a separate receiver, preamplifier plus amplifier or integrated amplifier, and passive speakers. This classic approach to a system remains the most customizable. But, part of the appeal of powered stereo speakers, aside from simplicity and affordability, is the compact nature of these systems—you can fit great sound almost anywhere.

  • Know how much space you have for your speakers
  • Will they be up against the wall? Avoid rear-ported models
  • Is there a dedicated phono input? If not, will you need a phono preamp or is it built into your turntable?
  • What other types of connectivity do you want from the speakers? Bluetooth? USB?
  • Do the speakers come with a remote control?
  • Is the power cord detachable? How long is it?

Next up among considerations is performance. Within a given budget, you will be able to buy a certain degree of capability. How much you get for your dollar can vary significantly, with one speaker you might pay for connectivity and aesthetics, and for another speaker all your money goes into amplification and drivers, and a robust cabinet. It really depends on the use case that the speaker is designed for. If you want state-of-the-art features, good looks, and high performance—all in one package—usually that comes at a higher cost. But remember, spending more doesn't always get you more, there are bargains out there. Especially if you take into consideration sale prices.

Judging performance is the most difficult aspect of evaluating speakers. One major reason for this is different expectations and different tastes. While there is a certain sound profile that is preferred by a majority of people—knowledge gained as a result of many years of research by Harman—it is still true that some listeners like it loud, others like their music quiet, some listen close to the speakers, others sit far away, all this plus the room come into play.

Even if you have the most accurate measurements and specifications, and even if you audition speakers in person in the store, and all the reviewers love it, there are no guarantees that you are going to love what you hear until you have a system set up in the room where you plan to use it, feeding the music plan to listen to, from the source you plan to use, sitting where you plan to sit. That's how specific things are! Ultimately, that variability in the individual experience could mean sending back speakers if you don't love them. Consequently, one factor to consider in a purchase is the return policy.

Going into the search for new speakers already knowing key parameters will give you a clearer idea of what to try and make the process of ultimately finding the best speaker a bit easier.

Editor's Choice

SVS Prime Wireless Speakers

These top-notch self-powered, wirelessly-connected smart speakers were reviewed for Home Theater Review by Dennis Burger and are a top choice on this list because of the sheer quality of sound reproduction that they achieve.

"I dare say, though, that you'll struggle to find another wireless speaker system in its price range that delivers this level of dynamic, tonally balanced, nuanced, and detailed performance while also boasting the level of connectivity found here. The addition of niceties like the six custom streaming presets, along with the system's source memory, really make it a standout in the burgeoning wireless speaker system marketplace." - Dennis Burger

More info from SVS:

"Versatile audio component converts any speakers into a high-fidelity smart wireless streaming zone. Renders convincing soundstage and stunning dynamics with pinpoint accurate frequency response, while bringing high-resolution wireless audio streaming, advanced connectivity, and smart control to conventional speakers. Features effortless power from 300 watts of total amplifier power (150 watts x 2), WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, control from your mobile device, and flexible component connections. Also includes line level output that converts any two-channel system or AV receiver into a smart wireless entertainment hub fit for the most discerning audiophiles."

Great Looking

Kanto TUK Powered Speakers

High Tech Good Looks With Folded Ribbon Tweeter

This sleek speaker has many modern features that contribute to its good looks as well as its high performance. The 5.25" aluminum woofers have inverted surrounds, and this design utilizes folded ribbon AMT tweeters or extended high-frequency reproduction and highly detailed sound.

The speakers directly support turntables with an RCA Phono input, and include a ground terminal but also offer wireless capability including Bluetooth. You can also connect with a 3.5 mm auxiliary port, USB, and standard stereo RCA. Notably, there are two sets of RCA inputs, one of which has the switch for phono, but you can still connect another source such as a CD player if you connect a turntable. And an optical digital input lets you easily connect a TV.

If you go wireless, you will get the quality of aptX streaming. An included remote control lets you switch sources, adjust EQ, and control playback when it comes to Bluetooth or USB.

Some more specifications: frequency response is 50 Hz to 20 kHz, the amplification is rated at 130 W RMS and this model a rear-firing port, which you might want to take into consideration depending on where you plan on placing the speakers, you will need to leave a little bit of space between these and a wall.

More info from Kanto:

"Delivering clarity and performance that put it in a class of its own, TUK is designed to push the limits on what a bookshelf speaker can achieve. Fine-tuned with onboard DSP, its high-performance AMT tweeters and 5.25” aluminum drivers produce sparkling highs and rich bass, bringing life to all your source material. Its active crossover further improves low-end resolution by filtering out sub-80Hz frequencies when connected to a subwoofer. Outfitted with dedicated phono, RCA and Optical TOSLINK inputs, a built-in USB DAC and headphone amp, and Bluetooth 4.2 with aptX HD and AAC codecs, TUK provides the flexibility you need to enjoy all your devices."

More Inputs (TV)

Klipsch The Fives - Classic Looks and Modern Sound

The Fives is an excellent-sounding speaker system available in multiple stylish finishes. Named after the use of a 5-inch woofer (OK, it’s actually 4.5 inches), it’s a two-way system with a trademark Klipsch Tractrix horn with a 1-inch titanium dome tweeter. These speakers utilize a rear-firing Tractrix port.

The magnetic removal grill has a textured woven cloth available in different styles. The cabinet is handcrafted wood with real veneer, or else the painted matte black finish.

Connectivity is the key here in the speakers directly support a record player, even models that require a phono preamp—that functionality is built-in and all you have to do is flick a switch next to the stereo RCA inputs to switch between phono and line-level input. plus there is a terminal for the ground, so these truly are excellent speakers to pair with just about any record player and they are able to do justice to a high fidelity turntable system.

Joe-N-Tell reviewed The Fives in a collaboration with Home Theater Review, you can read about it here.

More info from Klipsch:

"Enjoy superior stereo sound from a powerful and beautifully crafted tabletop system. With virtually endless connection possibilities, including HDMI-ARC, The Fives provide a better listening experience than a traditional sound bar with the same easy plug-and-play setup. Award-winning acoustics, state-of-the-art DSP, and tuning alongside discrete left and right channels, the Fives feature removable magnetic grilles, multiple finish options, and a subwoofer output."

Best Premium Sound

KEF LS50 Wireless Speakers

KEF's LS50 Wireless II is a very famous speaker, visually distinct, iconic, and a fantastic example of form following function resulting in a compelling design. everything about this speaker has a purpose, and while the cost is comparatively high versus some of the other speakers on this list, this is a luxury product that offers something special in terms of performance as well.

That something special is the Uni-Q driver, which is both a mid-base cone driver and a dome tweeter combined into one concentric, time-aligned driver that acts as a single unit but covers a very wide frequency range. This is key to the performance of the speaker and its capacity to create a truly compelling three-dimensional soundfield that benefits from the sharp focus that is a primary characteristic of a driver that acts as a point source, as is the case here.

Bonus points to KEF for making this highly popular premium speaker available in many color combinations. There is almost certainly a LS50 driver and cabinet color combination that will strike your fancy, and there are also special editions to consider.

More Info from KEF:

"Really great loudspeakers simply melt away, leaving you with just the music. A pristine voice, perfectly rendered layers of instruments you can lose yourself in, sound so clear it’s as though the artist is there with you. This is what great loudspeakers with the best technology deliver."

Dedicated Phono Input

PSB Alpha AM 5 Speakers

These powered versions of PSB's popular Alpha P5 bookshelf speakers are a great choice to go with a turntable. An inverted woofer and tweeter design keep sound in phase for those frequencies that are shared by both drivers (the crossover range).

A 50-watt built-in amplifier takes care of what would usually be tasked to a receiver or amplifier, saving space and money. This system has a dedicated Phono input but also features high-quality aptX Bluetooth streaming, as well as digital and analog inputs for wired music sources. Plus there's a mono RCA output for a powered subwoofer.

More info from PSB:

"The Alpha AM5 is a powered two-speaker stereo system that will revolutionize your traditional home audio experience. Featuring trickle-down acoustic technology from PSB’s most iconic speaker designs, the AM5 powered speaker includes a custom-designed driver set with a ¾” aluminum ferrofluid-cooled tweeter and a 5 ¼” midbass woofer that together deliver a rich and detailed full-range sound. You can listen to favorites on vinyl with a built-in phono preamp, or stream music and playlists with high-quality Qualcomm aptX Bluetooth. It’s PSB legendary sound, for everything you listen to and enjoy."

Great Bass

Audioengine HD6 Powered Speakers

These powered speakers earn extremely high marks from users, you might as well call it a five-star product. these speakers have good looks, high fidelity sound and are easy to use. There is no built-in Phono preamp, so either you will need to use a turntable that already has one, or else you will need to add one to the signal path, but don’t let that stop you from considering these speakers as an excellent complement to a record player.

Power is rated at 50 W RMS per speaker, 75 W peak with a mere 0.05% or less distortion. The rated frequency response is 50 Hz to 22 kHz, +/-1.5 dB, which is a more rigorous specification than the usual +/-3 dB.

More info from Audioengine:

"Our flagship HD6 premium powered speakers are a complete home music system with bold stereo sound that fills any room. Wired or wireless connections, including digital optical from your TV, aptX-HD Bluetooth from your phone, or good old analog from that vintage turntable or 80’s Sony tape deck."


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